The Type Of Beer You Should Never Use To Braise Meat, According To An Expert

Pouring beer over meat for braising
Pouring beer over meat for braising - sweet marshmallow/Shutterstock

If you're craving a tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth cut of meat, braising is the way to go. But if you really want to amp up the flavor of your slow-simmered entrée, the secret lies in braising your meat with a boozy splash of beer. Plenty of carnivorous cooks swear by the additional ingredient, which provides just enough acid to help break down the meat's connective tissues while infusing the cut with the robust, earthy flavors of the fermented brew.

However, not every type of beer works for this technique. To learn which kind of brew to avoid using in our braising liquid, Tasting Table spoke to chef Aris Tuazon, the owner of the Filipino-Spanish tapas restaurant 87 Ludlow in New York City. Tuazon, who regularly whips up plates starring pork belly, short rib, pork hock, and bone marrow, certainly knows a thing or two about cooking meat to perfection.

When it comes to beer-braising meats, Tuazon recommends steering clear of light or fruity beers as well as ales, such as India pale ales (aka IPAs). "I find that when cooked at high heat they make the final flavor [of the meat] too bitter," he explains. Indeed, IPAs should be avoided whenever you cook with beer. Given their highly hoppy (and, therefore, highly acidic) profile, the artisanal ales are much more bitter than other beer varieties. While that might make for an enjoyable sip when consumed as a beverage, you probably don't want the IPA's bitterness to color the taste of your food.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Better Beer Options For Braising

A glass of beer next to a tender shredded meat dish
A glass of beer next to a tender shredded meat dish - sweet marshmallow/Shutterstock

The absolute best cuts of meat to braise include everything from beef short rib and brisket to pork shoulder and chicken thighs – and you can incorporate beer into the tenderizing process for just about all of them. So, now that you know which beer to avoid when braising, let's talk about the best brew options you can and should use to achieve a delicious result.

If you're working with a hearty meat like beef, you may want to soak your cut in a darker, richer beer like a stout or porter. These sorts of beers have a more full-bodied flavor that is able to complement the taste of red meat while imparting sweet and savory notes of caramel, coffee, or chocolate. For some mouthwatering pulled pork, braise the meat in a brown or amber ale, or a dark lager like doppelbock, which can help bring intense flavor to the more mild-tasting pork.

Chicken, meanwhile, lends itself well to a range of different beer options, so you can really choose which type to braise it in depending on the sort of dish you're making. Braising chicken thighs for falls-off-the-bone meat to put in tacos? Stay on-theme with a pale Mexican lager like Corona. Serving up some good ol' fashioned chicken and potatoes? Try warming it up with a pumpkin ale that's a little sweet and spicy. The bottom line: When mixed with different spices and seasonings, a good beer braise creates a decadent, multi-dimensional dish. Just remember to skip the IPAs.

Read the original article on Tasting Table